Avengers: Endgame got a lot right when it came to wrapping up the stories of the OG Avengers, but that’s not to say the epic Infinity Saga closer was flawless.
One particular aspect that rankled with us was how chill Bucky seemed when Steve Rogers didn’t instantly return from his trip back in time to return the Infinity Stones. Or how Bucky just knew what Steve was planning with the shield when Old Man Cap showed up.
We speculated at the time that maybe the most important conversation between Steve and Bucky took place off-screen, which was backed up by co-director Joe Russo: “When Bucky says goodbye, he says, ‘I’ll miss you’. Clearly, he knows something. Sam doesn’t know something.”
And now, thanks to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we’ve got official in-universe confirmation that this particular conversation did take place.
The latest episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier saw Sam and Bucky bond over repairing Sam’s family boat, having bested John Walker in an exhausting, brutal bout which saw them take back the shield.
Over the course of the episode, Sam seemed to come to terms with his position as the new Captain America, something that Steve wanted when he handed him the shield at the end of Avengers: Endgame.
This included Sam talking to Bucky about the “complicated” legacy of the shield and Bucky revealed that he had a say in Steve passing the shield to him.
“When Steve told me what he was planning, I don’t think either of us really understood what it felt like for a Black man to be handed the shield. How could we? I owe you an apology. I’m sorry,” Bucky tells him.
It always seemed strange that we never got proper closure to arguably Steve’s most important relationship in the MCU. So it’s nice to finally have confirmation that the two did have a conversation before Steve’s permanent trip to the past – even if we didn’t see it.
Bucky didn’t state exactly when he spoke with Steve about the shield, but there’s a fairly small window when it could have happened.
It couldn’t have happened before the Blip as Bucky was among those turned to dust in Avengers: Infinity War, and as soon as he came back, Bucky, Steve and the rest of the Avengers were a bit busy dealing with Thanos and his huge army.
So it would have been after they were victorious and Steve likely told Bucky about his plan to stay in the past and retire. You couldn’t blame him, he’d been through a lot.
We might not have seen the conversation – although we’d love to see an unlikely flashback in the final episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – but it does at least resolve the mistake of Endgame in not giving closure to Steve and Bucky’s relationship.
It’s now clear why Bucky reacted the way he did to both Steve’s trip back in time and the decision to give Sam the shield, and we no longer think Old Man Cap was a bit rude in not talking to his lifelong friend.
Steve and Bucky had said their goodbyes already. We’d have wanted to see it (and really, would a few more minutes of Endgame have hurt?), but at least we now know that their conversation happened.
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